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Wednesday, 5 Cheshvan 5778 / October 25, 2017
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Daily Tanya

Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 26

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Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 26

ועוד יש להפליא, הפלא ופלא

There is yet further cause to be exceedingly amazed — at how “those who lack understanding” comprehend this quotation from Ra’aya Mehemna.

This statement comes in addition to the two preceding causes for surprise at their misunderstanding of this quotation: (a) that a portion of the Torah could be termed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; (b) according to their understanding of the Ra’aya Mehemna the study of issur and hetter does not supersede the obligation to pray at fixed times, even though the prayers were arranged according to the secrets of the Zohar and the Supernal Unions; whereas the fact is that for those individuals whose only occupation is the study of Torah, the study of issur and hetter does indeed take precedence over the mitzvah of prayer.

In addition to these two problematic queries, there is now a third:

איך אפשר שלימות המשיח, לא יצטרכו לידע הלכות איסור והיתר, וטומאה וטהרה

How is it possible that in the days of Mashiach people will not need to know the laws of ritual prohibition and permission, and of impurity and purity?

כי איך ישחטו הקרבנות, וגם חולין, אם לא ידעו הלכות דרסה וחלדה ושהיה, הפוסלים השחיטה, ופגימת הסכין

For how will they slaughter the sacrifices, and likewise animals for common use, if they will not know the laws of drassah,1 chaladah,2 and shehiyah,3 any of which disqualifies the slaughtering,4 and [likewise, the laws regarding] a defective knife?

וכי יולד איש בטבעו שיהא שוחט בלי שהיה ודרסה, וגם הסכין תהיה בריאה ועומדת בלי פגימה לעולם

Will there ever be born a man who by his very nature will [invariably] slaughter without shehiyah or drassah? Will the knife also remain perfect and unblemished forever?

Since these are physical impossibilities, people will obviously have to know the practical laws governing ritual slaughter.

ועוד הרבה הלכות: חלב ודם, ושאר איסורין

There are also many more laws relating to sacrificial offerings and so on, [such as those regarding] fat, blood, and other prohibitions.

וגם טומאת המת יהיו צריכין לידע, כדכתיב: הנער בן מאה שנה ימות

People then will also need to know [the laws regarding] the impurity imparted by a corpse; as it is written,5 “A young man will die at the age of a hundred.”6

And if there will be death in the world, these laws will of course be needed.

וגם טומאת יולדת צריך לידע, דכתיב: הרה ויולדת יחדיו

It will be further necessary to know the laws governing the impurity of a woman who has given birth; as it is written,7 “A pregnant woman, and one who gives birth8 together” [will be among those restored to the Holy Land at the time of the Redemption through Mashiach].

אם תלד אשה בכל יום מביאה אחת

If a woman will give birth every day, [these successive births] resulting from one marital union,

In Time to Come pregnancy will not last nine months; on the same day that a woman conceives she will give birth. Moreover, additional children will be born on successive days from that same conception.

אף על פי כן, דין איסור טומאתה לא ישתנה

nevertheless, the law with respect to the restrictions resulting from her impurity will not change.

It will thus still be necessary to know the laws regarding the ritual impurity of a woman who has given birth.

The Rebbe writes that the above elucidation — that a woman will give birth on the very day that she conceives — “accords with the explanation by the AriZal [of the teaching of the Sages in Tractate Shabbat 30b, that ‘In future time a woman will give birth every day’], in Likkutei HaShas (cited in the Miluim to Tehillim by the Tzemach Tzedek, ch. 20; also [in Biurei HaZohar of the Tzemach Tzedek, Vol. II, p. 827 ff.] at the end of s.v. Ginta). It differs from the commentary of Rashi [on the above teaching] in Tractate Shabbat 30b. See also Chiddushei Aggadot [of Maharsha] there.”

Commenting on the above-quoted phrase (“A pregnant woman, and one who gives birth together”), from which the Gemara derives its teaching that “In future time a woman will give birth every day,” Rashi explains that on the day a woman conceives a new child she will bear a previously-conceived child. For, as the Maharsha explains: It cannot mean that the conception and birth of the same child will take place on the very same day, for then the proof offered there in the Gemara regarding a chicken that laid eggs daily would not apply. For even a chicken does not lay the egg on the same day that it was fertilized; as the Gemara states in Tractate Bechorot, it takes twenty-one days. This means, as Rashi explains, that twenty-one days must elapse from the time of fertilization to the time the egg is laid. The AriZal, however, understands the Gemara in Tractate Shabbat to mean that a child will be conceived and born on the same day.

Parenthetically, the Tzemach Tzedek in the source quoted above quotes the Midrash Rabbah on Parshat Noach (beginning of sec. 36), to the effect that before the Flood as well, a woman would conceive and give birth on the very same day.

A further point: The Alter Rebbe added that the above-mentioned successive daily births would result “from one marital union.” This translation assumes that the unvocalized Hebrew text (מביאה אחת) is to be pronounced mibiah achat. Others, however, have assumed that it is to be pronounced meiviah achat; hence, “if a woman will give birth every day, she brings one [offering].” On this interpretation the Rebbe comments: “What connection does this have to our subject? (Especially, since this law [of impurity] also applies nowadays [i.e., prior to the arrival of Mashiach]. My opinion is that the phrase means ‘from one marital union.’ [I.e., further children will be born on subsequent days from that one marital union.]”

The Rebbe concludes: “This also solves the problem raised by the Maharsha.” In his Chiddushei Aggadot, the Maharsha asks: How can there possibly be additional births on subsequent days, when marital relations are forbidden for seven or fourteen days after birth? This question is answered by the above statement, that successive births will result from a single conception. This statement also accords with the reference made in the Gemara to a chicken, which lays eggs on different days from the same fertilization.

The Rebbe also refers to the Gemara (Niddah 27a) which relates that a certain woman’s conception resulted in the birth of two children, three months apart.

ואין להאריך בדבר הפשוט

There is no need to dwell on something so obvious — as the fact that these laws will still apply in the time of Mashiach, so that then, too, it will be necessary to know the laws of issur and hetter, and purity and impurity,

ומפורסם הפכו בכל הש״ס ומדרשים

when the entire Talmud and the Midrashim make known the reverse [of the misleading impression formed by a superficial reading of our opening quotation from Ra’aya Mehemna].

דפריך: הלכתא למשיחא

[For example:] The question is asked,9 “A law for the time of the Messiah?!”

I.e., why state now a law that will only apply to Messianic times? At that time, however, it will obviously be necessary to know it.

ואליהו בא לפשוט כל הספיקות, ופרשה זו עתיד אליהו לדורשה כו׳

Likewise we find that Elijah will come to clarify all doubts;10 and “This passage Elijah will expound in the future”;11 and so on.

ועוד אינו מובן מה שכתוב, דלא יתפרנסון תלמידי חכמים מעמי הארץ כו׳

Also not understandable is the statement (in Ra’aya Mehemna) that “the Torah scholars will not be sustained by illiterate people, and so on,”

As stated above, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is the root of issur and hetter, will not dominate the Jewish people, because “the Torah scholars will not be sustained by illiterate people,” —

ולא מערב רב, דאכלין פסול טמא ואסור, חס ושלום

nor by the mixed multitude, who eat that which is ritually unfit, impure, and prohibited, heaven forfend.

דהא גם בזמן בית שני, לא היו מתפרנסין מעמי הארץ דאכלין פסול ואסור, חס ושלום

Even12 during the time of the Second Temple they were not supported by the illiterate people who ate that which is ritually unfit and prohibited, heaven forfend,

שהרי תלמידי חכמים היו להם שדות וכרמים, כעמי הארץ

for the Torah scholars had fields and vineyards of their own, just like the illiterate people.

ואפילו הכי היו עוסקים בלימוד איסור והיתר, וטומאה וטהרה

Nevertheless, they engaged in the study of [the laws of] issur and hetter, and of impurity and purity —

כל הזוגות שהיו בימי בית שני

[for example,] all the pairs [of leading Sages] who lived at the time of the Second Temple13

והעמידו תלמידים לאלפים ורבבות

and they raised disciples in the legal of the Torah in the thousands and tens of thousands,14

ולימוד הנסתר בהסתר כו׳

while the study of the esoteric [of the Torah] took place in secret, and so on.

We thus see that the fact that Torah scholars need not be sustained by the illiterate is in no way a cause for their not studying (G‑d forbid) the laws of issur and hetter and purity and impurity.

* * *

Footnotes
1.
“Pressing” [on the knife].
2.
“Passing [the knife] under” (instead of over) the windpipe and gullet.
3.
“Pausing” and thus interrupting the act of slaughter.
4.
Note of the Rebbe: “The Alter Rebbe does not mention hagramah [i.e., cutting in a slanting direction] or ikkur [i.e., severing the pipes by tearing].”
6.
Note of the Rebbe: “I.e., there will then be death.”
7.
Yirmeyahu 31:7.
8.
Note of the Rebbe: “I.e., there will then be birth.”
9.
Sanhedrin 51b.
10.
See Eduyot 8:7 and commentaries there.
11.
Menachot 45a.
12.
This sentence has been emended above in Hebrew and English according to the gloss of the Tzemach Tzedek as cited in Luach HaTikkun (Table of Corrections) at the end of Hebrew editions of Tanya.
13.
Note of the Rebbe: “Chagigah 2:2.”
14.
Rambam, Introduction to Yad HaChazakah.


Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.
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